The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that new rules will be rolled out on association health plans allowing small businesses and self-employed individuals the ability to join together and purchase insurance outside of the Affordable Care Act’s markets.
The rule is expected to level the playing field between large and small companies and encourage competition between health insurers. The administration predicts it will both lower health care costs while also expanding coverage.
Premiums under association health plans are estimated to decrease between $1,900 and $4,100 annually, a Senior Department of Labor (DOL) official told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday. At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that coverage could expand for 4 million people by 2023, when effects are fully phased in. That includes 400,000 currently uninsured Americans.
Large companies, or those with more than 50 employees, are exempt from various regulations and consumer protections, leaving small companies with a disproportionately greater regulatory burden. The new regulation would allow small companies to play the same rules, meaning they will not be subject to providing such comprehensive benefits required under Obamacare.
The new rule provides that association health plans, which are groups of small businesses or individuals that pool together to acquire health insurance, can form on the basis of common industries or geographic locations, even across state lines.
The new rules will be rolled out in three stages to allow for the market to transition — the effective dates are Sept. 1, Jan. 1 and April 1, the DOL senior official told The DCNF.
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